Notre Dame athletes continue to roll in these 2012 London Olympics.
On Saturday the Hurley sisters helped Team USA win the bronze medal in women’s team epee with a thrilling 31-30 overtime victory over Russia, who is the second-ranked team in the world. Courtney Hurley was the hero for the Americans, scoring the winning touch only 16 seconds into overtime against Russia’s Anna Sivkova. This was the first medal for the United States of any kind (team or individual) in women’s epee, and the first U.S. team epee medal by either gender since the American men captured the bronze at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
Kelley Hurley was named a replacement fencer for the bronze-medal match against Russia. This was her first appearance in this 2012 London Olympic games. The three-time Notre Dame All-American and 2008 NCAA individual champion had no problem holding her own with a medal at stake, going 1-2 (9-10 aggregate scoring total). This included a 4-1 victory over Sivkova in the fifth of the nine-bout match. Her sister, Courtney Hurley, followed that win with a 4-2 victory over Lyubov Shutova, and the Hurley sisters’ combined 8-3 run over the two bouts ignited the United States rally after the Americans had trailed 15-11 through the first four bouts.
Natalie Achonwa collected seven points, four rebounds and two steals as Canada did their best to try and rally from a 19-point deficit but fell to Australia by a score of 72-63 on the final day of Group B action. Australia came out on fire, scoring the opening 10 points of the game, but Canada fought their way back, getting as close as two points (55-53) with four minutes left, and getting as close as 62-59 with 1:11 remaining. However, Australia was solid down the stretch, making all 10 of its final free throws, to hang on for the victory.
Today’s loss finishes Canada (2-3) in fourth place in Group B. Achonwa averaged 7.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in the five preliminary-round games, including 14 points and eight rebounds against group winner France on Aug. 1, and 11 points in Friday’s win over Brazil that helped the Canadians successfully clinch their first trip to the Olympic quarterfinals since 1984.
In the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, Canada will take on the United States at 9 a.m. (ET). Team USA (5-0) won Group A by an average of 36.6 points per game and has won 38 consecutive games in Olympic play, dating back to a 1992 semifinal loss to the Unified Team.
Canada and the United States have not met in Olympic play since August 5, 1984, when the Americans won by a score of 92-61, in Inglewood, Calif., at The Forum (then the home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers).
After having originally only qualified as a replacement fencer for the United States men’s foil team, Gerek Meinhardt was added to the lineup for today’s Olympic competition, and helped the Americans to a fourth-place finish. Today’s fourth-place finish tied the best placement by the U.S. in the men’s team foil event since 1932, when the Americans earned a bronze in Los Angeles.
Meinhardt did not need much time to make his mark for the United States. In his second quarterfinal bout against France’s Victor Sintes (a bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships), Meinhardt registered a stunning 11-1 victory, and helped the Americans rally from a six-touch deficit over the final three bouts to defeat France, 45-39.
The United States then faced the world’s top-ranked team, Italy, in the semifinals but were outmatched by the Italians and came up on the short end of a 45-24 decision. This sent the Americans in a bronze-medal match against Germany. Much like the semifinal against Italy, the U.S. ran into trouble early and could not manage to rally, falling to the Germans, 45-27.
Meinhardt finished with a 2-6 record (25-37 aggregate scoring total) for his eight Olympic bouts.